Haftor Medboe & Jacob Karlzon, The Debating Hall, Teviot Row, Edinburgh, 21 July 2019.

Following a necessarily delayed start due to the need for piano-tuning, serendipitously matched Edinburgh-based Norwegian guitarist Haftor Medboe and Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon gave an all too short but beautifully sweet concert of just over an hour. Seven tunes inclusive of an encore were aired, with singer Jessie Bates adding her gentle tones to two of these. The music seemed to encourage focus and calm simultaneously.

Medboe explained that Karlzon and he had only played together for not much more than a year, however this did not contribute any obvious problems tonight. Certainly, their contrasting styles were complimentary. Whilst Medboe generally was the one to set up the atmosphere with ethereal guitar echoes or soft scratching, sometimes using a bow, Karlzon would stride in with dramatic harmonic changes, confident melody and sometimes, as in “Waiting”, strident repetitive chords. As the beautiful melodies unspooled around us all, this listener saw vines entwining. These intimate – feeling dances all ended serenely, and often as in the appropriately named “Tranquil”, the end arrived suddenly and with a satisfyingly simple motif.

Indeed, during that particular piece, what with its lulling frequent returns to the tonic, a lady in front of me apparently felt so soothed that she nodded off – as has been reported at distinctive band The Necks’ concerts.

This is a duo that works particularly well, so it is hoped that there will be opportunity for Medboe and Karlzon to both tour and record together in the future. Such emotionally engaging, lyrical and even calming music is to be welcomed. Happily, a mini vinyl release of four of tonight’s tunes is currently available on Copperfly Records.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *